The Old Guard director interview

Gina Prince-Bythewood is a director known for authenticity and intimacy. In Beyond the Lights, Love & Basketball, and Disappearing Acts, audiences feel how close she is to her characters, their dreams, and their conflicts. That’s a part of what makes her new Netflix movie, The Old Guard, stand far apart from the typical action movie.

Prince-Bythewood, who’s the first black woman to direct a comic book movie, tells an ensemble story with The Old Guard in which the characters are as fully-realized as the propulsive fight scenes. The Old Guard is what you get when a director knows her characters inside and out. What may very well be the only big action movie we see all summer is a movie driven by character, not setpieces.

Recently, we spoke to Prince-Bythewood about crafting the setpieces, the pains of writing, and how her experiences as an athlete drive her as a filmmaker.

Read More »

This week, the gang at How Did This Get Made? covered The Boyfriend School, a 1990 romantic comedy starring Steve Guttenberg, Shelley Long and Jami Gertz.

To better understand how (and why) this film got made, I spoke with the film’s editor, Marshall Harvey, and its producer, George Braunstein

Given that George Braunstein hasn’t produced a film in several years, and that he’s best known in Hollywood as an entertainment attorney (he’s a partner at Braunstein & Braunstein), I was particularly curious to hear how he had gotten into producing films. 

And the answer to that question begins in the late 1940’s… 

Read More »

thomas kail hamilton interview

In 2016, Hamilton was at the top of the world. The hip-hop musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda was a bonafide cultural phenomenon, blowing the doors wide open to the usually niche world of musical theater and becoming the most hotly-talked about topic in pop culture, music, and even politics. The hip-hop musical about American Founding Father Alexander was (aptly) hailed as revolutionary, and to bear witness to its meteoric rise was amazing. But only a select few could actually get to witness the magic of Hamilton on stage.

Accessibility has always been the bane of theater. The Richard Rodgers Theatre can only house so many people in its seats, and the cast of Hamilton can only perform eight shows a week for so long. But before that moment could fade, Hamilton director Thomas Kail wanted to shatter the show’s long-held reputation of exclusivity and share “the energy of what it was like to be in the Richard Rodgers Theatre in June of 2016, because I never felt anything like that.”

Read More »

hamilton on disney+

The original cast of Hamilton remembers being very tired in June of 2016. They were a month away from taking their final bow after nearly a year of performing eight shows a week, to critical acclaim and astronomical popularity. Creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda was in the middle of writing the songs for Disney’s upcoming animated film Moana. And the cast and crew had taken on the seemingly impossible task of filming their show for a feature film that had no distributor and no studio over the course of three days.

“I look very tired in the movie and I paid for that look,” Miranda said in a Zoom Q&A with the cast and team of Hamilton ahead of the film’s upcoming debut on Disney+.

Read More »

Female Blumhouse Directors

How much of an introduction does a producer like Jason Blum really need? We all know the name Blumhouse Productions, the production company Blum founded 20 years ago. It was in 2009 the company exploded and discovered a winning formula in modestly budgeted horror movies with low risks and potentially high rewards. Now, Blumhouse is a company whose name attracts as many moviegoers, if not more so, than most name actors. 

The latest Blumhouse Production is You Should Have Left, which is writer-director David Koepp returning to Stir of Echoes territory with his leading man, Kevin Bacon. The story is set almost entirely in a house where Bacon can’t escape the past. Based on a german novella by writer Daniel Kehlmann, it’s a modern spin on “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Recently, we talked to Jason Blum about the atmospheric horror movie, daily operations at Blumhouse, reopening theaters, VOD, and more. 

Read More »

This week, the gang at How Did This Get Made? covered Ninja 3: The Domination (1984), the final entry in Cannon Films’ so-called “Ninja Trilogy” 

The director of Ninja 3, Sam Firstenberg, is an interesting guy with many stories about his unlikely journey from Jerusalem to Hollywood. So many, in fact, that we’re going to save his tales about breaking into the business, working for Cannon in its heyday and directing the iconic cult classic Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo for a separate piece in the near future. 

Today, instead, we’re just going to put on our most Sherlockholmesian deerstalker and investigate how did Ninja 3: The Domination got made. Which begins—a couple years earlier—with a film called Enter the Ninja. 

Read More »

artemis fowl Nonso Anozie

There are some unusual requirements to play a bodyguard to a 12-year-old criminal mastermind. For Nonso Anozie, who reunites with his Cinderella director Kenneth Branagh in the upcoming Disney fantasy movie Artemis Fowla few things he had to add to his resume were kendo fighting and “troll fighting.” More so the kendo, as the troll fighting would be mostly done by his stunt double.

“But I did a little stunt this morning, being pushed over by the troll,” Anozie told a group of journalists on the set of Artemis Fowl in 2018.

Read More »

artemis fowl kenneth branagh interview

In the aftermath of the global phenomenon that was Harry Potter, Hollywood released a string of children’s fantasy knock-offs eagerly trying to fill the hole it left. But as we cycled through the Eragons, and the Golden Compasses, there was one fantasy series waiting in the wings that might have been the cheeky alternative to the boy wizard that we needed: Artemis Fowl.

The film version finally arrives on Disney+ this summer and we spoke to director Kenneth Branagh about, well, why he changed the source material so much.

Read More »

A few days ago, we spoke with legendary producer Al Ruddy about the making of The Godfather, Ladybugs and Megaforce (which the gang at How Did This Get Made? covered in their most recent episode).

Today, in Part 2, we continue our epic discussion with Al Ruddy—this time talking about Million Dollar Baby, Little Fauss and Big Halsy and The Longest Yard

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

How Did This Get Made Al Ruddy Interview

This week, the gang at How Did This Get Made? covered Megaforce (1982), an over-the-top action film directed by famed stuntman, Hal Needham. 

The first person I got in contact with was Megaforce’s producer, Al Ruddy. But unfortunately, he replied, “I’m participating in a German-produced documentary on the film currently and with my other projects, I simply have no spare time.”

I thanked him for the quick reply and then assumed we’d never cross paths again. But less than 24 hours after he had declined, I received a new email from him that said: “Just had a couple thoughts…call me.”

What were those thoughts? And what had changed in the course of a day? In a nutshell, Ruddy had done a little research and really liked the idea of this series—the idea of going behind-the-scenes to answer how did various movies get made. “But,” he explained, “for what you guys are doing, I think it shouldn’t just be about the losers.” The point he wanted to make (and which led him to agree to this interview) was that even the “winners” go through their fair share of chaos, struggle and backroom drama. And, well, if anyone would know that to be true, it’s Al Ruddy. 

Because while it was Megaforce that led me to Ruddy, he’s best known for producing a different class of films. Several of which we talked about during our interview—beginning with a little film called The Godfather

Read More »